Monday, November 8, 2010

A Miserable Run, A Cold Morning

We (Reboot, Water Hobo, HOBO II and a cast of dozens) are anchored in Wrightsville Beach NC. The current air temperature is 43F up from the high 30's this morning. The wind has been blowing in the 15 to 20 knot range. The wind forecast is for Gale winds at Cape Fear and a high in the low 50's. We would have to cross Cape Fear Inlet to continue down the Intracostal. After a morning VHF conference we decided that we would just stay here for the day and wait for better conditions. We were amazed at the number of boats that just headed out this morning to continue their transits.

Yesterday I got a radio call from a passing boat. It seems that they were headed for Wrightsville to have lunch with Tom Young and Maggie before they flew back to Milwaukee. I was disappointed that I would miss them as Reboot could not make the bridges in time. I did talk to Tom on the cell phone to catch up.

The trip yesterday was very ugly. We have be combating low temperatures for a couple of days. Even when well dressed the continuous 15 knot cold winds chill one and make for long days. Yesterday included 3 bridge openings that were perfectly timed to make us wait at each one. The Wrightsville Beach Bridge in particular was as Jim of HOBO II so aptly described it "the nightmare on Elm Street." We are traveling with a large number of snowbirds so each time we wait for a bridge we are in the company of 20 to 30 other boats. Coming down on Wrightsville the current was about 2 1/2 knots sweeping us to a bridge that only opens once per hour. Trying to stand still in a narrow channel with 20 other boats for 45 minutes or so was a real treat. Of course the time went by faster watching Towboat US try to pull another sailboat off the shoal. Of course he went aground at high tide so we got to check his bottom paint almost to the keel.

Once thru the bridge there are two marinas, one on each side. Several boats stopped to tie up to the docks. More than one tossed out a bow line in a following current with the inevitable results. Then a number of us turned to port into the harbor channel which was shoaled to about 3 feet since the tide was unusually low. After bumping 3 times in 1 minute I turned around only to be confronted with other boats trying to enter and several sailboats also aground. Great fun! Jim (HOBO II) noticing the difficulties of REBOOT and WATER HOBO just continued down the ICW. Both of us extracted ourselves and followed Jim along. We took the alternative channel (which turns out to be much wider and deeper.) On the way in we chatted with a Sea Tow boat and he suggested that we would be fine anchoring where we were for the night.

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